ROME, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Italy's government would like to strike a deal on the sale of struggling carrier Alitalia before national elections due by May, but will not be pressured to do it at any cost, Industry Minister Carlo Calenda told RAI state radio on Thursday.
Alitalia, which has made a profit only a few times in its history, was put under special administration earlier this year after staff rejected a plan to cut jobs and salaries.
Germany's Lufthansa, British low-cost carrier easyJet and U.S. private equity fund Cerberus are among companies that have expressed an interest in Alitalia.
The minister added that the negotiations with interested parties "need to be concluded either way, otherwise Alitalia cannot continue to operate".
Reporting by Agnieszka Flak, editing by Steve Scherer